Improving energy efficiency in a Lublin shopping centre
The current rising electricity and gas prices are having a major impact on the maintenance costs of commercial and service buildings. Therefore investors are looking for comprehensive solutions that can ensure the economical operation of facilities. How has a mini-shopping centre in Lublin dealt with the current situation? Thanks to renewable energy sources and intelligent energy management through Loxone, it has managed to create a competitive facility that offers lower operating costs for tenants and affordable prices for customers.
Combination of renewable and emission heat sources
There are several heat sources in the shopping centre. The primary ones among these are two gas-fired cogeneration plants (with an output of 50 kW and 30 kW), which, when fed with gas, convert it into electricity and heat. In addition, in the boiler room, there is a cascade of gas boilers and a cascade of heat pumps. The total installed capacity of the system significantly exceeds the needs of the facility. However, this was intentional by the owner, who wants to remain independent of the energy price fluctuations.
Refrigeration system condensers receive heat from the refrigerators located in the supermarket. This heat, in the form of water between 45 and 70°C, also feeds the entire heating system.
On the roof of the shopping centre, there is also a 50kW photovoltaic installation (based on inverters of the company Fronius) and solar collectors.
The heart of the system is a large buffer tank with a capacity of 4 m³. It holds four tonnes of water. Each of the listed energy sources (collectors, pumps, boilers, heat recovery, CHP) feeds the tank. Heat from all of these systems mixes in the tank and supplies:
- a heating system for the entire building divided into three zones
- domestic hot water tank (500 l)
- car wash
Intelligent energy management system
Such an extensive infrastructure requires effective control. This is where Loxone’s intelligent automation comes in. The task that Loxone fulfils, is to meter the entire system (heat meters, electricity meter for pumps) and to choose the cheapest heat source at any time.
From next year, the facility’s electricity and gas purchases will be made on the spot market (a day ahead). On the spot market, prices fluctuate hour to hour throughout the day.
So the Miniserver takes this data the day before and determines independently how to cover the energy and heat demands of the centre throughout the day in the most efficient way possible, utilising the buffer tank as a storage device.
“Between March and mid-November 2022, not once has any additional emission source (CHP, heat pumps, gas boilers) been put into operation. All heat energy that is currently consumed is generated by heat recovery and solar panels.”
It should be taken into account that energy consumption in summer is not as small as you would expect. With the boiler room also needing to supply the car wash, which is located in front of the facility. The car wash needs heat all year round, so even during the summer months there is still heat consumption. Despite this, for most of the year, the car wash is mainly powered by renewable energy sources (either air conditioning and cooling system recovery or solar panels).
The result? Everyone benefits from the savings: the investor, tenants, and customers of the shopping centre
There are several tenants in the service and retail building. They too are benefiting from the savings and the solutions introduced. As they have learnt how to make their energy consumption more efficient, due to being prompted by the data in the app and by the benefits of Loxone, meaning they have lower operating costs, which results in affordable prices for their customers. This makes the facility more competitive with other shopping centres in Lublin.
There is a second Miniserver in the main plantroom, which operates the electricity meters. Loxone provides an easy, simple way for billing tenants for their utilities. As the Loxone app makes it easy for everyone to see at what time of day they use the most energy and in what way they use it. All these statistics are visually available to tenants on the Loxone App.
Small sensors, big benefits
The ‘Daisy’ shopping centre also has the following installed:
- dozens of radiator actuators
- 25 motion and presence detectors
- 20 temperature sensors
The radiator actuators allow for great control of the distribution of heat in rooms. Lighting throughout the building is controlled using motion and presence sensors, meaning that lights are only activated in areas where someone is actually present. These simple functions can really save a lot of money for the investor and tenants, trickling down the benefits to customers and additionally provides a lot of valuable information, e.g. between which shelves in the shop customers are most frequently found. Further to all of this, thanks to the temperature sensors, you know where the heat is coming from, and what the temperature is in the buffer tank.
“We chose Loxone because it offers a comprehensive solution. Contrary to what you might think, there aren’t that many systems on the market for managing energy in such a complex way as in our building. Equipment such as furnaces, heat pumps, solar panels, CHP and recovery are really complex infrastructure and mechanics that need to be managed by the system efficiently and faultlessly enough for the facility to operate unmanned. Loxone met our expectations after initial testing and evaluation. It is possible that if we develop the building with further investment ideas in the future, we will also expand our Loxone system.”
Fact: Loxone automation in the shopping centre has reduced the monthly cost of energy consumption by 15%. This is an annual saving of around £10,000. The investment in the intelligent system certainly pays for itself soon enough.
Get an inside look at the supermarket
Work on the system took 2-3 months and new features are being added all the time. Currently, Loxone’s Partner, Arbor Energia, is trying to ensure that the system’s operation is independent of external factors, such as power outages. Take a look at some photos of the boiler room, main switchgear and other parts of the facility.
Interested in Loxone?
Whether you want Loxone installed or you want to start offering your customers Loxone, speak to us about making that happen.